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The Other Nature Early in her exploration of man's soul, Joyce Carol Oates discovers a basic truth whilst writing about the nature of Stavrogin in Dostoyevsky's The Possessed-that as part of his inevitable fall, man violates "character" in so complete a way as to separate himself from the only forces that may save him. This theme dealing with the Fall of person is a constant thread that weaves itself through the majority of Oates' essays, the corruption by different external and internal forces and the tragedy that leads to man's blindness to his own character and to what could provide him salvation. Oates' power lies in her ability to delve deep within the characters of the authors, the characters they create, and the powerful themes buried deep at the work's soul. She applies psychological theories and archetypes in order to explore the implications caused by the similarities and differences from the characters' thoughts and activities. She reaches her thought-provoking insights by connecting parallel motifs across a wide spectrum of literature and constantly leaps from 1 generalization into the next causing the reader to wonder how she's come to the fascinating and brilliant decisions introduced in Contraries. By analyzing the Fall of man, she discovers how self-awareness and substance preoccupations lead to some corruption of the "organic" self. Later, the conversation of tragedy and transcendence in essays about King Lear and Nostromo shows the fundamental importance of women-as saviors of their natural world and representatives of salvation for men. Women are the inherent focus of her essays; the archetypes and functions that they stick to and defy as literary personalities shape the way she perceives the female. Ultimat...